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James Clear
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James Clear writes at JamesClear.com, where he shares ideas for using behavior science to improve your performance and master your habits. For fresh ideas on how to live a healthy life — both mentally and physically — join his free newsletter. Or, download his 45-page guide called Transform Your Habits.

Entries by James Clear

How to Eliminate Procrastination (The Surprising Strategy One Man Used)

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2015 | 5:06 PM

In 2009, Fred Stutzman was a graduate student at the University of North Carolina and he was trying to grind out some important work on his thesis.

But there was a problem.

His favorite coffee shop, which had previously been a quiet sanctuary where he could escape distraction and get...

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I'm Using These 3 Simple Steps to Actually Stick With Good Habits

(0) Comments | Posted May 14, 2015 | 4:22 PM

I have been trying a new strategy for building habits, and it is working incredibly well. This strategy is remarkably easy, and it is governed by three simple rules.

First I'll tell you the three rules. Then, I'll explain how I'm using this strategy and offer some other examples of...

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How to Be More Productive and Eliminate Time-Wasting Activities by Using the 'Eisenhower Box'

(16) Comments | Posted May 11, 2015 | 10:43 AM

Dwight Eisenhower lived one of the most productive lives you can imagine.

Eisenhower was the 34th president of the United States, serving two terms from 1953 to 1961. During his time in office, he launched programs that directly led to the development of the Interstate Highway System in the United...

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How to Change Your Beliefs and Stick to Your Goals for Good

(1) Comments | Posted May 6, 2015 | 2:00 PM

In one of my very first articles, I discussed a concept called identity-based habits.

The basic idea is that the beliefs you have about yourself can drive your long-term behavior. Maybe you can trick yourself into going to the gym or eating healthy once or twice, but if you don't...

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Masters of Habit: The Deliberate Practice and Training of Jerry Rice

(1) Comments | Posted May 1, 2015 | 4:14 PM

Jerry Rice is widely considered to be the greatest wide receiver in the history of the National Football League. In addition to winning three Super Bowls, Rice holds nearly every single season and career receiving record available. He is also the NFL's all-time leader in yards, receptions, and touchdowns.

Many...

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Smart People Should Create Things

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2015 | 1:42 PM

It was 1974 and Art Fry was spending his weekend singing for the local church choir. On this particular Sunday, Fry was dealing with a relatively boring problem: He couldn't keep his bookmarks in place.

In order to find hymns quickly, Fry would stick little pieces of paper between the...

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How to Solve Difficult Problems by Using the Inversion Technique

(0) Comments | Posted April 20, 2015 | 6:18 PM

Here's a new framework for thinking about how you solve difficult problems (like losing weight and getting fit, creating more innovation in your company, learning a new skill, or otherwise changing your behavior).

I call this strategy the Inversion Technique and author Josh Kaufman covers it in his book,

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What to Do When You Have Too Many Ideas (And Not Enough Time)

(2) Comments | Posted April 20, 2015 | 11:04 AM

What do you do when you have too many ideas and not enough time? Or similarly, what about when you have too many tasks and not enough energy?

As an entrepreneur, I feel like I've been battling this issue for awhile. There is always another opportunity to chase or a...

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How to Find Your Hidden Creative Genius

(2) Comments | Posted April 10, 2015 | 4:37 PM

There is a interesting story about how Pablo Picasso, the famous Spanish artist, developed the ability to produce remarkable work in just minutes.

As the story goes, Picasso was walking though the market one day when a woman spotted him. She stopped the artist, pulled out a piece of paper...

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The Only Productivity Tip You'll Ever Need

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2015 | 2:37 PM

Ernest Hemingway woke each morning and began writing straight away.

He described his daily routine by saying, "When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or...

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Let Your Values Drive Your Choices

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2015 | 5:31 PM

Nearly every problem you face is temporary.

But these temporary problems cause immediate pain. And we often let this pain drive our choices and actions.

For example...

  • An employee suffering from the pain of not feeling important enough or powerful enough might take a terrible job with a fancy title.
  • ...
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Do Things You Can Sustain

(0) Comments | Posted April 2, 2015 | 10:21 AM

In 1996, Southwest Airlines was faced with an interesting problem.

During the previous decade, the airline company had methodically expanded from being a small regional carrier to one with a more national presence. And now, more than 100 cities were calling for Southwest to expand service to their location. At...

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How to Change the Habits of 107,000 People

(0) Comments | Posted March 30, 2015 | 4:55 PM

It was 1995, and Pieter Ernst was battling a serious problem.

Ernst was a physician with an interest in community-wide behavior change, and he was currently in Mozambique. For nearly 20 years, a brutal civil war had ravaged the population and landscape of the country.

The war had ended three...

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Masters of Habit: The Wisdom and Writing of Maya Angelou

(0) Comments | Posted March 25, 2015 | 4:47 PM

Sadly, Maya Angelou, the great American author and poet, has passed away. She was known for her award-winning autobiographies as well as for her numerous plays, scripts, poems, and essays.

Her most famous work, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, has sold millions upon millions of copies....

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How to Be Motivated Every Day: Lessons Learned From Twyla Tharp

(0) Comments | Posted March 23, 2015 | 10:59 AM

Twyla Tharp was born in Indiana and was named after the local "Pig Princess" at the Annual Muncie Fair, who went by Twila.

It wasn't the prettiest of starts, but Tharp turned it into something beautiful.

She is widely regarded as one of the greatest dancers and choreographers of the...

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The Photographer Nobody Knew: Lessons on Sharing Your Gifts With the World

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2015 | 12:13 PM

It was 2007 and John Maloof was working on a book about Chicago's northwest neighborhoods. On this particular day, he was hoping to find a few pictures from the 1960s that he could use in the book.

What he ended up finding was far more interesting.

After purchasing boxes full...

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How to Read More: The Simple System I'm Using to Read 30+ Books Per Year

(3) Comments | Posted March 12, 2015 | 5:05 PM

Warren Buffett, the man commonly referred to as the greatest investor of the 20th century, was standing in front of 165 wide-eyed students from Columbia University.

One of the students raised his hand and asked Buffett for his thoughts on the best way to prepare for an investing career. After...

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How to Build Expertise, Talent, and Skill: Lessons From Peyton Manning

(0) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 10:48 AM

It was the first game of the season and Peyton Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the National Football League, already had a chance to set another NFL record.

Late in the fourth quarter, with the ball on his own 22-yard line, Manning stepped up to...

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How to Solve Big Problems: Lessons Learned From Cancer Scientists

(1) Comments | Posted March 5, 2015 | 12:30 PM

In late November of 1991, a 3-year-old girl was diagnosed with leukemia. There was a 30 percent chance she would die.

In the coming months, she would receive a long list of chemotherapy drugs: 6MP, asparaginase, methotrexate, prednisone, and vincrinstine. The miracle was not only that these drugs could potentially...

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Habit Stacking: How to Build New Habits by Taking Advantage of Old Ones

(1) Comments | Posted February 27, 2015 | 4:13 PM

In 2007, researchers at Oxford University started peering into the brains of newborn babies. What they found was surprising.

After comparing the newborn brains to the normal adult human, the researchers realized that the average adult had 41 percent fewer neurons than the average newborn. [1]

At first...

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